Hi Lesley, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
Hi! I’ve been doing great – thanks so much for having me!
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Oh, Andy!”?
Sure. “Oh, Andy!” is the latest single off my EP Good Like This that I put out in late 2015. It’s a song about the love that almost was.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
I tend to write songs based on some hook or phrase, and I then draw from my experiences and imagination to flesh out the rest of it. So the part of the song that goes “Oh, oh, oh, Andy – the love I had I gave to you” (some might call it my 4 bar chorus), that’s what first came into my head and then I just filled in the blanks on the missing pieces of the story. The idea that the objects of our affections often never even know that we were admiring them a really compelling idea. There was a wistfulness around that I wanted to convey in this song. So even though the song sounds very happy, upbeat, it’s a sad song with more than a hearty dose of regret in it. I love when songs lyrics undermine the aural vibe of a song – or vice versa.
How was the filming experience?
If I could describe the shoot in two words, they would be cold and resourceful! We shot during the blizzard in Philly on a shoestring (i.e. $0) budget and it was just me and my friend Harish Pathak so we made do with what we had, which was me, our phones, a notebook, and the snowy setting of Rittenhouse Square. I knew the snow was coming and I was brainstorming how we could have fun with it and managed to get to a store before everything closed to buy some food coloring and small spray bottles. I’m really happy with what came out; I feel like we were able to tell the story effectively and get across the vibe of the song with very limited resources.
How was the recording and writing process?
Recording was great – there is no better feeling than building up a song track by track and watching it come to life! I recorded the EP at Brooklyn’s Mission Sound and I’m back there now to make my first full-length EP, made possible by a crowd funding campaign I did in November of last year. I would not be able to make the album I’m making now if it weren’t for the $8000 we raised from fans and supporters.
Writing is a very solitary process for me. I find that I write my best stuff by just walking around, so my iPhone’s voice memo feature plays a critical role in my process. You just have to keep pumping out ideas, review them, and then dig in on the ones that show the most promise. It’s work, and I like to approach it that way.
What led you to blend folk, pop and soul together?
As a songwriter, you listen, listen, listen, and then internalize all those influences, mix it in with the rest of your worldly experiences, and out comes something. I’m really influenced by music coming out of the 60s and 70s, and I think that was a time when popular music actually was a blend of a lot of sounds – folk, country, pop, rock, soul. Think Fleetwood Mac or Carole King. Or Bruce Springsteen – a lot of blends in genres. All I’m concerned about is that the songs I write allow me to communicate honestly and openly about a certain feeling, and I suppose all my influences – especially what I listened to at a very young age – have helped to shape my artistic voice. So it’s not a concerted effort to be this or that; I’m just trying to get as real and honest as possible, because that is what allows me to connect with people in a meaningful way, which is all I really want.
How has both your hometown in Philly and NYC influenced your sound?
I’m inspired by all the musicians I know out of Philly and NYC who constantly help me step up my game and push the boundaries of my writing and comfort zone. I never want to be the most talented person in the room! New York especially makes you hustle, and I’m glad because I’m writing my best stuff these days because of it. The guys I play with – Chris Schultz (drums), Matt Cusack (bass), Charles Ramsey (guitar/vox), and Alex Kerckhoff (lead guitar) – are incredible musicians, and many of them great singers/songwriters in their own right. They are adding so much to this album throughout the recording process, and it’s always a privilege to work with them. Oliver Straus, who engineered the EP, is producing the LP I’m working on and really pushing me and challenging me to take my sound to the next level.
Does the new single mean we can expect a new material – how’s that coming along?
Yes! I am working on a LP that I’ll release this summer. It’s going so well – I was listening to some rough mixes the other day and tearing up over how well my visions of these songs are translating into the actual recorded tracks. I cannot wait to share it with fans – I’m sometimes distracted by how excited I am about these songs!
Any tentative release date or title in mind?
Thinking about a July birthday release, and might have zeroed in on a title. I hope to be announcing it in coming weeks so I’ll come back to you on this! J
Any plans to hit the road?
Yes – I’ll definitely be touring the album in the Northeast, and would love to make it out West some point this year for a few shows! Stay up to date with the latest on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
What else is happening next in Lesley Barth’s world?
Let’s see – album release, tour – we’ve covered the big ones! But on top of all that there will be music videos, behind-the-scenes content, acoustic videos, etc. My goal for this year is to reach more fans and to build upon my loyal fanbase so that I can be in a position where I can afford to go back in and record a new album in 2017. I just love the work of making music, and want nothing more than to be able to keep doing it. It’s tough in today’s world to sell music when you can stream everything, but I think if you really connect with and care about your fans, you can help them understand why buying your music matters. And then it’s just a numbers game – having x number of fans to fund my day-to-day life and the next album. I believe my music has wide appeal without sacrificing on quality, and I want to get it in front of as many people as possible this year. I’m really energized. J
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